The New Pornographers @ The Pabst Theater
Oct. 17, 2007
October 25, 2007
New Pornographers are the quintessential mix-tape band. Their
hook-filled pop songs dazzle in small doses, but with their chipper
melodies and unwavering enthusiasm, they quickly begin to cloy over the
course of an entire album. Any band this bombastic needs a foil to
offset their perkiness, and that's where part-time Pornographers member
Dan Bejar comes in. He brings a much-needed rock 'n' roll edge to the
Unlike singer Neko Case—another past-time member who blends right in when she tours with the group, banging on a tambourine and clearly enjoying the respite from her loftier solo material—Bejar never assimilates. He spent most of the group's show at the Pabst Theater last week offstage, emerging only for his handful of songs, which he sang between sips of red wine. He never addressed the audience, and barely acknowledged his band mates. Even in person, he was every bit the enigma he paints himself as with his full-time project, Destroyer.
Bejar's slippery, wordy tunes were easily the
highlights of the set, and although there were only four of them,
that's probably for the best. If the Pornographers have a fault, it's
that they dole out too much of a good thing—too much melody, too many
hooks, too much cheer—so they can be forgiven for being a little frugal
with their most prized commodity.